Fifty-six American History lessons have been strategically placed along The Glacial Drumlin Trail between Cottage Grove and London. You’ll find them dotted along the trail, cleverly hidden just off the path in the form of a geocache.
A high-tech treasure hunt played using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, geocaching involves finding containers using latitude and longitude coordinates. With an estimated four million “cachers” worldwide, nearly 1,000 geocaching teams have been registered with the Wisconsin Geocaching Association.
Getting started in geocaching is relatively easy. To begin, you’ll need to create an account on the official website for geocaching: www.geocaching.com. Next, pick a team name, acquire a GPS device (or download the iPhone or Android applications to your mobile phone), and let the searching begin. A hobby for many people, geocaching can be done individually, in teams, and even at social events.
Hidden with the permission of the Wisconsin DNR, Dave Grzybowski of McFarland created the “America the Beautiful” geocache series in 2010 in conjunction with the release of the America the Beautiful quarters by the United States Mint. Between 2010 and 2021, the United States Mint will release 56 different quarters featuring Natural Parks or National Sites from each state, US territory, and the District of Columbia.
Each of Grzybowski’s America the Beautiful geocaches on The Glacial Drumlin Trail corresponds to an America the Beautiful quarter. Grzybowski included information about the specific Natural Park or National Site for each geocache profile on www.geocaching.com, allowing individuals to read about the unique geographical and historical significance for each location. A photo of the new quarter design has also been added to each profile page.
“I created the America the Beautiful series for my one-year-old nephew, Adam,” Grzybowski said. Born around the same time information on the quarter series was released, Grzybowski maintains the geocache containers using his nephew’s geocaching team name (AdamAnt2009).
“Some people asked me how a newborn was going to maintain all the containers, but I’ll help my nephew out until he’s old enough to go out on his own,” he said.
“I enjoy hiding the caches as much as finding them,” Grzybowski explained. “For this series, I spent a lot of time making sure to find the best hiding spot. When you’re looking for these geocaches, think about the name of the park or something about the park that fits with where you’re looking.”
Accessible by foot or by bike, the containers are spaced at regular intervals along the trail. “If you rode your bike and spent about ten minutes looking for each container, you could find all of the containers in about six hours,” Grzybowski said.
Containers hidden between Cottage Grove and Deerfield are placed about every tenth of a mile and are accessible by foot. In varying size and difficulty, finding the geocaching containers will also give individuals an appreciation for the diversity in wildlife, terrain, and foliage along the trail. Following the general rules of the sport, always hide the container in the original location, respect the land and others enjoying the trail, and remove any litter you produce or find along the way.
Grzybowski is a member of the Wisconsin Geocaching Association and is an Awards Coordinator with the Boy Scouts of America, Pack 53 in McFarland. He also holds position of Geocaching Coordinator for the Glacier’s Edge Council. The Boy’s Life Series book, Let’s Go Geocaching by John McKinney explains the fundamentals of geocaching and is an excellent introductory resource for getting started in the sport. Let’s Go Geocaching is available for purchase for $3.99 at the National Scout Shop on 5846 Manufacturer’s Drive in Madison.